The Way of the Cross

Produced by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace
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February/March 2004

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This Way of the Cross was written by the Pastoral Animation Commission of the Diocese of San Cristobal (Chris-TOH-bal) in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has worked in partnership with local agencies there. The majority of people in Chiapas are indigenous, of Mayan origin. Many have been forced onto marginal land where they eke out a living as subsistence farmers. Some make crafts and woven textiles, but they are far from local markets. Most live in grinding poverty, despite the region's natural wealth. The Mexican army presence in Chiapas has increased dramatically since 1994 (on January 1, 1994, on the day that NAFTA was enacted, indigenous Zapatista farmers staged an uprising in Chiapas to bring attention to the suffering of the people in the region, and to protest NAFTA, which they saw as a death sentence for indigenous peoples and way of life). The Mexican army presence has led to human rights abuses and repression in these communities. In 1997, 45 members of a pacifist community in Acteal (Ac-tay-al) were murdered. With this Way of the Cross, we invite you to journey with the people of Chiapas and to encounter Christ among them.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Refrain. Reading: Matthew 25:40

Jesus continues to carry the cross through the countryside, villages and cities, on the roads, sidewalks and on the mountain trails. Sometimes it is not easy to recognize him. If we feel compassion for Jesus crucified 2,000 years ago, we must also allow ourselves to be deeply moved by the Christ present in the people we meet from day to day.

1st Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Refrain. Reading: Mark 14:55

They took Jesus prisoner before the high priest. They looked for witnesses against Jesus, but they could not find any. Jesus teaches us with his Word the Reign of life, of peace with justice. But in Chiapas the powerful guard for themselves our natural resources without caring for the lives of our children.

God, you have given us life. Do not let the powerful take the lives of many innocent people. Amen.

2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross
Refrain. Reading: John 19:16-17

Let us contemplate Jesus alive in our communities and in the many women who suffer in oppressive households...We all need to read the Word of God with the eyes, mind, and heart of women. God, who is both Father and Mother, wants us to be full of love for all men and women.

Lord, help us not to be indifferent. Make our hearts like that of our Mother Mary. May we say "let it be done to me according to your Word" and commit ourselves to enter into solidarity with those who struggle to survive. Amen.

3rd Station: Jesus Falls the former Time
Refrain. Reading: John 16:17

...People carry the weight of suffering because they are displaced, or because they must borrow land, or because they have no land to cultivate. They do not have enough food and they do not have the medicines they need.

It is Jesus who suffers today in these communities and who is knocking on the doors of your heart. How do you respond to him?

4th Station: Jesus Meets His Mother
Refrain. Reading: Matthew 27:56

Let us remember the perspiring women, with loads of firewood on their backs, struggling to feed their families. Let us remember the mothers who have lost their children violently, as those in New York. Let us remember the forgotten and mutilated children. Let us remember the fields that have become clandestine cemeteries, and the pain and fear they cause.

Mother of Jesus, accompany us so that we will learn to share the riches of love with the children and mothers who suffer. May this land shine with freedom. Amen.

5th Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
Refrain. Reading: Luke 23:26)

Simon of Cyrene came from the countryside. So, too, are we in Chiapas united in pain and suffering with the displaced and with so many families killed because of hate, resentment and jealousy.

Lord, we ask for mercy for our sisters and brothers who have been attacked by the powerful. We humbly ask that the hearts of the powerful be softened so that we may all obtain peace. Amen.

6th Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Refrain. Reading: Isaiah 52:14

We ask God to give us the courage of Veronica so that we are able to denounce and clean away all the injustices that we are living in these times.

Lord, we ask that you help us to wipe clean the blood of so many innocent sisters and brothers. Amen.

7th Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
Refrain. Reading: 1 Peter 2:21

The people of Chiapas continue to suffer injustice, inequality and insecurity. They suffer because of the forced relocation of their communities and the violation of their human rights. They suffer for the children in the street and they suffer in the search for a livelihood. They suffer because of sickness, because they lack education and employment, and because of poor nourishment.

Let us enter into solidarity with our sisters and brothers who suffer. Amen.

8th Station: Jesus Encounters the Women
Refrain. Reading: Luke 23:28

Jesus is once again found in the suffering of women whose rights have been violated and those who are despised. Some have no work at all. Others have work, but their labour is not valued. They are poorly paid and mistreated.

May women in Mexico be truly respected. Let them be truly active in their own development and in gaining equal rights. Amen.

9th Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
Refrain. Reading: Colossians 1:21-22

This fall of Jesus reminds us of the fall of the martyrs in Acteal, and of so many innocent sisters and brothers in the northern zone of Chiapas whose lives have been unjustly taken. They suffer persecution at the hands of those in authority and those who are powerful.

Lord, we ask you to help us learn to forgive others for all the pain and suffering they have caused in our people. Lord, help us to build justice and peace. Amen.

10th Station: Jesus is Stripped of his Clothes
Refrain. Reading: Matthew 27:35

Just as Jesus was stripped of his clothes, so, too, have our indigenous brothers and sisters been stripped of their lands, their crops, their dignity. For this reason, we seek a renewed consciousness so that we may live in a spirit of solidarity-sharing a life full of hope and joy.

Lord, help me to understand that all of us are your children, and we should respect each other with dignity and integrity. Amen.

11th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Refrain. Reading: Matthew 27:35-37

Jesus continues to be nailed to the cross in our sisters and brothers who are maltreated and marginalized. Many of these have been displaced from their communities through persecution by the military, by paramilitary forces, and by groups of the powerful who continue to threaten the freedom and peace of our impoverished peoples.

Lord Jesus, we ask you to nurture us with your Spirit so we can find peace and reconciliation. Amen.

12th Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Refrain. Reading: Luke 24:44-46)

Jesus is assassinated unjustly...He dies abandoned and misunderstood. Only Mary, his Mother, along with John and several women are at the foot of the cross.

Today, we see men, women, young people and children die because of a system that crushes our people through misery and deception. Each day, we see alcoholism increasing; we see unemployment, unjust salaries, and government projects that only serve to divide the communities of Chiapas and other places in this country and the world. The weight of misery is unbearable, but we have hope that God does not abandon us, that God is with us.

Lord, we pray for all those who shed their blood in the struggle against injustice. Give us strength to continue this work. Amen.

13th Station: Jesus is Taken from the Cross
Refrain. Reading: John 19:34

Mary, a sword of pain passes through your heart and penetrates to your soul on seeing your son dead. So it is with our indigenous brothers and sisters who are despised simply because they are indigenous. They carry the hope that your Son will remove them from this suffering.

Lord, help us to understand the pain of our brothers and sisters. Help us to discover Jesus in them. With the light of your Spirit let us march toward your Reign, creating a more fraternal history. Amen.

14th Station: Jesus is Buried in the Tomb
Refrain. Reading: Mark 15:46

As the body is placed in the tomb, it seems that everything is finished, that there is no more hope. In the communities of our diocese there has been much blood shed, many bodies buried, many, like the 45 martyrs of Acteal, massacred at the hands of the military and public security forces. Let us not continue to bury our hope, our faith, and our dignity. We must not feel defeated, but rather we must struggle to make God's plan a reality: life, dignity, justice and love.

God of love and of truth, help us not to fall into despair. Strengthen us when faced with threats of death and oppression. Let us persevere in creating a new society. Amen.

The Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ
Refrain. Reading: Luke 24:5

Thank you God for raising Your Son Jesus. We ask that you guide us, that you teach us the path that we must follow so that we can raise our sisters and brothers who are dead as a result of lies, hate, deception, selfishness and bad government.

Lord, help us find the light of life, of reconciliation, of equality, of love, of brotherhood and sisterhood, and of solidarity, to create a new world. Amen.

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